Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The World's Toughest Job

A surprising ad that celebrates Mother’s Day by equating it to Director of Operations.
It’s real, surprising and of course heart-warming. 

How can we extend it from a Content Marketing Strategy perspective?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Facebook Fraud?

Saw this on my Twitter feed and thought it was a great dissection on how Facebook is inflating Likes from Click farms and direct Facebook ads (!!!) to get revenue.

Sure, every business has to turn a buck. But it’s wrong – instinctively.

All I want is to hold a great conversation with like-minded people, but these fake Likes create so much chaff that the grains and gems are effectively hidden.

Juan Marketing via Veritasium)

What Does It Mean For Us?

Don’t buy Facebook ads unless you want silence on your fanpage.

To me – and i’m freakin’ biased – it also shows the importance of awe-inspiring and useful content (see Dissecting Viral Content: The Most Dangerous Species in the Mediterranean) and folks whom you can trust to pass it on.

No mo’ ads!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dissecting Viral Content: The Most Dangerous Species in the Mediterranean

I came across this infographic (oooo…. we looove infographics) that was making the rounds in Facebook.
The Most Dangerous Species in the Mediterranean
(src: Visually)

Looking at the stats: 77K Views | 66 Faves | 24 Comments | 3rd Ranked

I wondered “why are people sharing this image and words?” It’s pretty, but doesn’t justify the sharing.

It had to be something deeper.

STEPPS: A Framework for Understanding Sharing

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger provided a nice framework – STEPPS – that helps us understand why people share things.

S: Social Currency

T: Triggers

E: Emotions

P: Practical Value

P: Public

S: Stories

Despite the fact that it’s a marketing thing (there’s a lot of self inflated fluff in marketing by marketers want to get mo’ people talking about their products or causes or whatever else they scheme), I liked how he breaks down the causes of virality into contributing factors.

In other words, going viral isn’t random. It can be designed.

Go get the book – if you’re into content stuff.

So Why Did We Share This Infographic?

Using Berger’s framework, we have…

Social Currency: No

Triggers: No

Emotions: Yes. Indignation. “How can these things kill my sea-kittens?!”

Practical Value: Kind of. We can identify the types of the rubbish in the sea and how it kills seafood. But I fail to see how this infographic helps us stop it.

Public: Yes. We now know that there’s rubbish in the sea.

Stories: No.

So The Most Dangerous Species in the Mediterranean fulfilled 2.5 out of 6 components. Does it mean that it’s not viral? Does it mean that it is?

Personally, I think only those who give a rat’s ass about killing marine life will share it. And that’s because they’re swayed by Emotions.

What say you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

History and Origins of Content Marketing

I’m starting to write a book about Content & Inbound Marketing. As with every project, I start off with research on the material and subject matter.

So where else but start at the very beginning – the history and origins to give context to this book.

Googling the terms “history, content marketing, inbound marketing” returned a fascinating timeline on the history of Content Marketing by the folks from CMI. Apparently, we (as in the human race) have been making and sharing good and useful information since 4200 BC! O.o

Good to know that our cavemen ancestors believed in share and share alike at least for “6 Ways to Hunt and Skin a Woolly Mammoth”.

History of Content Marketing
Source: Content Marketing Institute

Monday, January 6, 2014

How B2B Content Impacts Customer Thinking & Buying Decisions

2013 came and went in a flash. A new year but old problems remain – Content ROI, Content Marketing channels etc. Like a penitent, I went back to my readings to rethink on these problems.

There are plenty resources out there.

One whitepaper stood out: "Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field”  by Content Marketing Council.

How B2B Content Impacts Customer Thinking & Buying Decisions (infographic)

Apart from the usual calls for better content, I liked how it continually emphasised the need for rigour and a big picture views. This is answered by how Content Strategists and Marketers should develop, manage and distribute content.

Obviously it’s non-trivial and time-consuming as many factors – greater number of decision makers with their own buying cycles, effectiveness of content formats, just to name a few – will affect your conceptual framework.

That’s the fun of it. All that thinking and information meshing to develop a system of relationships and links between content, prospects and resources.

Still there’s worth in creating shortcuts especially when the sun’s bright, shining and begging for us to go out and play.

So going by this vein, I think a generic content management and distribution framework with customised components (such as most well-received content formats) would work well.

Learnings in a Nutshell

Content Influences Purchase Decisions in 4 Ways

  1. Purchasers are always looking out for new ways to solve problems

    No-brainer. If there’s a better and cheaper solution, they’ll come knocking on your door to find out more.
  2. Decision makers want empathy and understanding from vendors on their issues

    People gravitate towards towards like-minded folk. If you can show that you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, then you’ve got it covered.
  3. New thinking and thought leadership on current issues are very much in vogue

    Who doesn’t want to follow a leader? New takes and spins on current issues will always be garner an audience.
  4. Validate your products and solutions

    Customer testimonials are nice. But winning over critics – be it technology reviewers etc – certainly lends a different level of gravitas to your product.

Decision Makers Trust Research and Whitepapers from Professional Associations and Industry Groups most of all

That’s about right. It really just means that we should hob-nobbing and trying to get names mentioned in professional associations, or perhaps sponsor content from these groups.

Notable Quotes

"While large reports still have a place, the ideas they generate need to be offered in a wider variety of easily consumable media types. A recent study by Deloitte on the future of productivity in Canada included a major report of some 60 pages, she says. But her marketing team also generated infographics, motion graphics, social media communications and other content that reached a wider audience of decision makers and key influencers. The result…was a dramatic increase in full report downloads and a two-fold increase in media impressions and news coverage."
- Colleen Albiston, CMO for Deloitte in Canada
"CMOs, HR executives, line of business leaders and other non-IT executives are deeply involved in purchasing decisions and are often primary decision makers."
- Jamie Mendez, director of channel marketing responsible for IBM’s global partnering infrastructure, PartnerWorld

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Difference Between Content Strategy & Content Marketing

I'm a sneaking member of many Content Strategy and Content Marketing forums on G+, LinkedIn and Twitter. That means I read, think and don't write alot. 

I realise that there's a divide between the two fields even though they inform and intertwine each other.

For example, a part of Content Strategy is about preserving and reformatting messages for different channels. But on closer think -- isn't it under Content Marketing where we distribute content to the right audience? Or am I way off bat?

Does it matter even? To clients, they just want Mo' leads! Mo' money! Mo' traffic! And I think the work is fine (and fun for cerebral types).

Conflict photo

Image Source:

So why the debate?

I think there's value for content folks to differentiate Content Strategy and Content Marketing responsibilities and tasks. After all, clarity and some kind of planning soothes the ruffled mind.

If not, it's just an existentialist, wank-all, Why am I here? *facepalm*-type of question.

Definitions First: Content Strategy vs Content Marketing

I've adopted definitions from folks in the field. It seems like the fastest way to get started on this debate...

Content Strategy

"A content strategy helps you get more ROI from your content assets by developing a way to manage content that addresses your business needs, and pays attention to not just the editorial side of content, but also the technical side of content, so that when you have a new campaign or business need, you can quickly respond by repurposing existing content."
(src: Rahel Ann Bailie)

Content Marketing

"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
(src: Content Marketing Institute)

What do the Definitions Mean

Image Source: Digital Culture Online

Content Strategy identifies and manages content within resource limits. Content Marketing creates and identifies distribution channels to get an audience to something. One's more strategic (duh) in building frameworks for use and validation; the other is more tactical because they implement and build relationships with users.

So... they are complementary. They don't step on each other's toes:

  • Content Marketing needs Content Strategy because it informs why, what and who.
  • Content Strategy needs Content Marketing because it informs how.

And if we bring them all together, we'll cover why, what, who and how


What's the Big Issue With the Divide?

Fucking territorial fights.

Content is the big thing now because of current user behavior: research (needs content), corroborate (needs content), buy, and yak about it. Given that influencing users is a big part of marketing's mandate, obviously they'll want some kind of influence or association with the latest shiny bauble. Content Strategists were copywriters or editors, and often they hate marketing where sales messages gets pushed out without a care. Freakin' purists. 

Any other issues?

More Reading for Taxonomical* folks

* I know it's not a word...unlike truculent!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Content Marketing Trends in China

China China China – the world’s most populous country has been on the content marketing bandwagon for a while.

I first saw branded sponsorships (done with lots of cheese) on their reality shows, which led to popular bloggers and microbloggers hiring managers because they’ve got reach to teach the unthinking masses.

And if you’re thinking of reaching out to the Chinese market, take a look through PR Newswire’s latest survey for the (very large) country. While the channels are different, Weibo, Ren Ren, Tencent and WeChat dominate, the issues and trends are still the same.

  • Spending increases in non-traditional channels
  • ROI is focused on increasing sales
  • Mobile apps are gaining prominence

Same same, but different.

Source: PR Newswire

Content Ticks G+